State lawmaker charged with entering Capitol in riot resigns
Derrick Evans, the newly elected Republican House of Delegates member from Wayne County facing charges for illegal entry into the U.S. Capitol with others, resigned Saturday from the House.
In a one-sentence resignation letter, Evans notified Gov. Jim Justice of his resignation just days before the Legislature is slated to meet for the first time in 2021.
“I hereby resign as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately,” Evans wrote.
In a statement sent to the media, Evans said he resigned to not be a distraction when the Legislature meets at noon Wednesday.
“The past few days have certainly been a difficult time for my family, colleagues and myself, so I feel it’s best at this point to resign my seat in the House and focus on my personal situation and those I love,” Evans said.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” Evans said. “I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state. And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.'”
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, said the state should accept Evans’ apology and take it as a first step in healing the political divide in the nation.
“Delegate Evans was unfortunately a part of the events this week that threatened what has historically made America a beacon for the rest of the world: the peaceful transfer of power,” Hanshaw said. “In announcing his resignation, Delegate Evans said he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to those he’s hurt. In this time of overheated, hyperbolic political rage, I think that’s a good first step for us all to take right now.”
The 35-year-old Evans was charged Friday by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds. He was taken before a federal judge Friday and released on personal recognizance.
Evans was one of more than 50 individuals charged so far with Wednesday’s mob action at the U.S. Capitol where hundreds push through barriers and Capitol Police officers to break into the building as Congress and Vice President Mike Pence were counting the Electoral College ballots.
Trump is accused of inciting the mob to storm the Capitol Building during remarks at a rally in front of the White House Wednesday, along with the remarks of Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr. Media reports say some Trump supporters planned on breaking into the Capitol to halt the vote certification process.
Others placed caches of weapons and homemade bombs around Washington, and some reportedly were specifically looking for Pence.
Evans used his cell phone to record himself with other members of the mob trying to gain entry through one of the doors leading to the Rotunda.
“There we go! Open the door,” Evans yelled, leading a group in a chant of “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
“We’re in, we’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol,” he yelled after the mob was able to force its way through the door and into the rotunda.”
Multiple Republican and Democratic state lawmakers have called for Evans to resign or be expelled from the House of Delegates.